Many drivers operate under an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality: any unseen component of their car isn’t worth noticing.
While it’s usually no problem to depend on regular maintenance to keep your vehicle in shape, that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore subtle issues that crop up! Most cars will offer small warnings before total failure, so it pays to know the red flags.
This is especially true for one of the hardest worked systems in your vehicle: the exhaust system. Here are a few critical signs of an exhaust problem you should know.
1. Unusual Engine Noises
Strange noises coming from your engine are never a good sign, and they can sometimes be indicators of an exhaust problem. Pay attention to any sounds that fall outside of your engine’s customary noises.
For engine leaks, loud exhaust problems include tapping or hissing sounds. These noises may be at their loudest during a cold start or when you’re in the process of accelerating, as this can happen with a leak in the muffler or an issue with your exhaust pipe.
2. An Illuminated Check Engine Light
The “check engine” light is designed to detect any system failures in your catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor, or oxygen sensor. It can also light up if trouble is brewing in your exhaust system.
Many drivers choose to ignore their car’s warning indicators, but avoid this temptation! Reach out to a pro, like the team at Performance Auto Center, to ensure your safety.
3. A Smell of Burning or Gas
Any irregular smells should be a red flag. If you’ve noticed the scent of gas while driving, a damaged exhaust pipe or tube may have sprung a leak. When this occurs, the resulting gas fumes may come through into the cabin of your vehicle.
Alternatively, you may notice a burning smell. This can happen after a gasket failure, which can damage your engine wiring or any plastic components beneath your hood. These components may then start to burn.
Both of these are obvious health hazards, so don’t wait to have an expert check your engine!
4. A Dangling Exhaust Pipe
This is one of the more obvious signs of exhaust problems. If you notice your exhaust pipe is low or even dragging on the ground, you’ll want to have it fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, the pipe can be a danger to other motorists if it falls off of your car when you’re driving.
5. Decreased Fuel Efficiency
Your vehicle may decrease in fuel efficiency with age, but it shouldn’t happen over a short period of time. However, when your exhaust system isn’t operating as it should, your engine will have to work harder to keep up, burning more gas than usual. While it’s hard for most drivers to diagnose subtle exhaust issues, an expert can tell you the underlying cause.
Know the Signs of An Exhaust Problem
Knowing how to spot subtle problems before they snowball into system failure can keep your car running for longer. Pay attention to these common signs of an exhaust problem, take time for regular maintenance, and reach out for help when you need it!
Looking for additional best tips on getting the most out of your ride? Check out our other posts for more insights!